An efficient, well designed working environment can go a long way towards inspiring new ideas, encouraging productivity and helping you to perform better in your role. Whether you work at home or in an office, here are five simple ways to improve your workspace for 2016.
- Invest in ergonomic furniture
It is well documented that sedentary work can have a negative impact on our health, and this is only made worse when using poor-quality office furniture. If you find yourself constantly shifting in your seat, you have to hunch to see your computer screen or you suffer from a sore back, aching shoulders and a stiff neck at the end of the day, now is the time to upgrade your furniture. Not only can uncomfortable working conditions make it almost impossible to focus on your work, but it can also lead to long-term health issues over time.
To stave off these problems, invest in an ergonomic chair that properly supports your lower back. This can make all the difference when it comes to improving your health and performance at work. Your chair should be adjustable and ensure that when you are sitting your feet are flat on the floor, your thighs and elbows are at right angles and your computer screen is at eye level. By taking steps to enhance your comfort, you should find that your concentration and productivity levels benefit too.
- Get the lighting right
While it may not seem like an important issue, lighting can have a significant impact on the way in which you work. Not only can sufficient lighting boost alertness and productivity, but it can also help to prevent headaches, fatigue and eyestrain – which can negatively affect your ability to focus on the task at hand.
While there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to what type of lighting is most effective for working, natural sunlight is generally considered best. However, if your workspace isn’t located near a window and relocating isn’t an option, it is important to make sure your desk is well lit. Interior designers usually recommend that offices have a balance of overhead lighting and task lighting. Rather than fluorescent lights, try to opt for bulbs that imitate natural light as they have been shown to reduce fatigue and improve mood. Try to minimise any glare on your screen too. You may also want to consider finding alternative spaces at work or home which have better light conditions to work in for part of the day, or take regular breaks outdoors for a natural mood booster.
- Clear the clutter
Ok, so keeping on top of your cleaning duties can be difficult during busy periods, but if you want to work more efficiently in 2016 and beyond, now is the time to clear the clutter. A desk that is piled high with paperwork and scattered with superfluous objects can slow you down both physically and mentally. Indeed, research suggests that messy workspaces can lead to increased levels of stress and have a detrimental effect on worker productivity.
As the focal point of your workstation, your desk needs to be a functional, organised space that is conducive to work. With this in mind, take the time to jettison the junk and purge your desk of anything that you don’t use on a regular basis. It is also a good idea to invest in a desk organiser or a filing cabinet to help keep your surfaces clean and tidy. This way, you’ll spend less time hunting down that important file or document you’ve misplaced and more time getting work done.
- Reduce noise distractions
Excessive noise is known to increase stress and anxiety, lead to low morale and hinder concentration. This means that noisy environments can be the bane of an office worker’s life. Especially if you’re based in an open plan space, colleague chit-chat, phone conversations and other noise distractions can cause your performance to seriously suffer.
Luckily, there are many easy ways you can drown out the hubbub at work. For example, office screens and partitions can be effective at reducing noise levels and they can also be used to create more privacy. Wearing earplugs or noise cancelling headphones can also help to lessen distracting sounds and can come in useful when you really need to knuckle down.
- Add some inspiration
While having a tidy desk can help to increase efficiency, it is also important to make sure your workspace inspires you. After all, when you take into account that many of us spend the majority of our day in the office, it only makes sense to make your workspace feel like your own. A sparse, lifeless desk can be demotivating and make the hours at work drag, while a welcoming, homely space with personal touches can help to foster a positive attitude and lift your spirits when the daily grind starts to get you down.
Whether it’s a family photo, changing your screensaver to an inspirational quote or hanging some artwork, adding personal elements to your office can help you to bounce back from stressful work demands and give you a much needed motivational boost. Decorating your workspace with objects and mementos that reflect your personality will also help you to feel more connected to your surroundings and make going to work every morning that little bit easier. However, be careful not to go overboard with your personal effects – too many knickknacks can be a distraction and project an unprofessional image.
By making simple alterations like these, you should be able to reap the benefits of a far more productive office and successful work life in 2016.